A shared pain: we remember those who made immeasurable sacrifices on Memorial Day
Today is Memorial Day; a time when we pay tribute to the men and women who paid the ultimate price in defending
our rights and securing our freedoms. The Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History in the UK Libraries has a vast collection of stories from military veterans and their families. Center Director Dr. Doug Boyd highlights an interview from 1985 with Kentucky native, Judy Hartline Elbring, a nurse who served two tours in Vietnam. She describes the often gut-wrenching triage process for the wounded and dying, as well as the time she was called upon to help her own brother recover from his combat-related wounds. While he lived, many others didn't come home. We salute those men and women with this segment of our award-winning history series Saving Stories.
Judy Elbring begins by explaining how she became interested in joining the Army as a nurse. After discussing her training, she describes her arrival in Vietnam and her first assignment at a hospital near Qui Nhon, both in terms of work and social life. She describes her work in two other hospitals, at An Khe and Chu Lai, during her first tour, noting in particular her interactions with North Vietnamese prisoners. She describes her return to her hometown of Paducah, Kentucky and, after two years of continued work as a nurse at Valley Forge General Hospital in Pennsylvania, her decision to return to Vietnam for a second tour. She describes her work during this second tour with terminal patients, her helping her brother to recover from an injury, and changes that had taken place since her first tour. She discusses her life after the war, especially her increasing awareness of political issues related to Vietnam.
Access the entire interview below:
The Judy Hartline Elbring interview is part of the Nunn Center's American Veterans: Vietnam War Oral History Project:
Access the full collection below: